Tagged in Trout Lake

April 1, 2014

Five Places to Fish the Spring Opener

Woman with fish

She examines a recently caught fish

On May 3, Wisconsin’s gamefish season opens. If you’re an angler, it’s the most exciting day of the year. Make plans to be out on the water that weekend in a place that offers great fishing. These five destinations are your best bets for the opener.

Vilas County

The walleye fishing is incredible in Vilas County. Most of the county’s 1,300 lakes are home to good populations of walleye. The biggest, deepest, clearest lakes, such as Trout Lake, harbor some enormous fish. But, during the first days of the season, look for smaller, shallower lakes, which warm up earlier and provide more action. Anglers can target smallmouth bass, but they must be released between May 3 and June 20. Largemouth bass are fair game. Vilas County is also one of the best musky destinations in North America – their musky season begins May 24. Vilas County’s 12 resort communities offer lodging as well as shopping and dining.

Oneida County

Just south of Vilas County, you’ll find Oneida County, home to hundreds of lakes and a beautiful landscape of towering forests. Anglers targeting walleye in Oneida County will find plenty of excellent lakes, including Boom Lake, a flowage on the Wisconsin River in the heart of Rhinelander. Boom Lake is also famous for its musky and smallmouth bass. Oneida County shares the same season dates as neighboring Vilas County (see above). Anglers will find eight friendly communities in Oneida County offering hotels, resorts, cabins and cottages.

Lake DuBay, Stevens Point Area

At 6,700 acres, Lake DuBay is big. This flowage on the Wisconsin River has a fishery to match its size. Big bass, fat walleye and hefty northern pike all swim in these waters. During the first days of the fishing season, a wise angler will turn his attention to some of the shallower backwaters and bays where the water will be the warmest. Anglers shouldn’t overlook the panfish that call Lake DuBay home, particularly crappie. And, this lake is one of the state’s premier musky lakes (the musky season on Lake DuBay begins on May 24). After a day of fishing, take a tour of one of the Stevens Point area’s four breweries, including the famous Stevens Point Brewery.

Lake Winnebago, Oshkosh

Unlike the other destinations on this list, bass and walleye fishing is open year-round on Lake Winnebago. The 138,000-acre lake’s walleye fishing is second to none. The natural reproduction on the Winnebago System is outstanding. The lake is also becoming well known for its bass fishing, with good numbers of both largemouth and smallmouth. Panfish are plentiful on the lake, with perch being the most targeted species. Trolling is the most popular method for catching walleye and yellow perch. Bass can be found close to shore in weeds and around docks and other structure. You’ll find hotels and numerous boat launches in Oshkosh.

Flambeau River, Rusk County

The Flambeau River is home to a wide variety of fish species, from panfish to sturgeon. But, smallmouth bass are what put this classic riverway on the map. The Flambeau boasts huge smallmouth bass. Anglers will find smallies in all sections of the river, from the flowages (Ladysmith, Big Falls, Dairyland, Thornapple) to the wild river stretches. During the spring, look for smallmouth bass in the shallow sections of the flowages and in deep pools along the river. Canoeists and kayakers will have a distinct advantage when it comes to accessing some of the Flambeau River’s most secluded pools. It’s an exciting place to fish. Ladysmith is Rusk County’s hub for lodging, shopping and dining.

These are just five of Wisconsin’s many fantastic fishing opportunities. Find more great places to fish this spring.

For complete fishing regulations, visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Hook and Line Fishing Regulations.

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January 14, 2014

Wisconsin’s Winter Walleye Waters

Ice Fishing

Photo Credit: RJ & Linda Miller

Winter is a great time to target what might be Wisconsin’s tastiest gamefish. Walleye bite throughout the winter, and ice fishing is the ideal way to target this elusive predator. Best of all, Wisconsin is home to some of the top walleye fisheries on the planet.

Ice fishing allows walleye anglers to pinpoint active fish and carefully present lures and baits—the same careful approach would be difficult from a rocking boat. When an ice angler finds a group of active fish, he can quickly catch his limit. And, there’s nothing like the sight of a big, fat walleye coming up through the ice.

This winter, experience the thrill of catching walleye through the ice. Here are eight of the very best Wisconsin winter walleye waters.

Oshkosh – Lake Winnebago

At 138,000 acres, Lake Winnebago is the king of all Wisconsin walleye destinations. The Lake Winnebago System, which includes the Wolf and Fox rivers, has unmatched natural reproduction. The result is a fishery with numerous walleye and good numbers of big fish. During the winter, the area around Oshkosh offers some of the giant lake’s best walleye fishing.

Rusk County – Lake Holcombe

Few Wisconsin lakes offer such a diverse, high-quality fishery as Lake Holcombe. This 4,000-acre lake is a flowage on the Chippewa River. Lake Holcombe boasts more than 120 miles of shoreline. Walleye anglers will find good fishing throughout the winter.

Stevens Point – Lake Du Bay

The sprawling Lake Du Bay is a nearly 7,000-acre flowage on the Wisconsin River. The lake is known for its musky, pike, smallmouth bass, panfish and walleye. Anglers should look for sunken trees and other structure along the old river channel. Some of the deeper backwaters can also hold fish.

Oneida County – Lake Tomahawk

This classic Northwoods lake provides great walleye fishing during the winter. It is one of the biggest lakes in northern Wisconsin, weighing in at 3,392 acres. The lake is famous for its fishery, which includes a healthy population of walleye.

Boulder Junction – Trout Lake

Deep and cold, Trout Lake is stands out as one of Wisconsin’s best fishing lakes. The crystal-clear waters hold not only the usual selection of warm-water gamefish, but also lake trout and whitefish. The walleye on Trout Lake grow big and fat on the healthy forage base. Be ready to tie into a hefty fish.

Rhinelander Area – Boom Lake

This flowage on the Wisconsin River is one of the most popular fishing destinations in Wisconsin—and for good reason. Walleye anglers will find good action here throughout the winter.

Onalaska – Lake Onalaska

The Mississippi River is one of the best walleye fisheries in the country. Lake Onalaska, a 7,700-acre pool on the Mississippi River, is an outstanding walleye destination. In addition to walleye, Lake Onalaska offers great fishing for northern pike and panfish.

Black River Falls – Lake Arbutus

Lake Arbutus is a multifaceted destination. In addition to northern pike, musky, bass and crappie, you’ll find good numbers of walleye. It’s a great place to set out some tip-ups. You never know what you’re going to catch here.

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October 14, 2013

The Season of Giants – Late-season Musky Fishing

There’s a fish for every season. Shortly after the ice leaves Wisconsin’s lakes, crappie begin their feeding frenzy. On many river systems, the spring walleye run can be action-packed. Late spring brings great fishing for bluegill on lakes all over the state. As the water begins to warm in early summer, the bass fishing in Wisconsin can be incredible. And, as the mercury begins to drop down toward freezing, the musky fishing can be downright unbelievable.

Fall fishing

In general, a musky doesn’t feed during the winter. To make it through those long, cold months, these huge predators must pack on the pounds during the fall. By late fall, muskies will be eating voraciously. Musky anglers who want to catch a trophy fish will spend as many hours on the water as they can during this period.

During late fall, big lures are the rule. Musky baits should be between 12 and 18 inches – or more. Successful musky anglers know that they need to spend a lot of time hunting as muskies can be spread out across the entire lake. In fact, fall is the only time of the year that certain monster-size muskies will make an appearance in the shallows. These huge fish leave their deepwater lairs in pursuit of baitfish, particularly ciscoes. Put a lure in front of one of these ravenous predators and you might experience the fight of your life.

Wisconsin offers some of the best musky fishing in the nation, regardless of the season. Here are some of the state’s very best late-fall musky destinations.

Boom Lake Chain, Rhinelander

Part of the Wisconsin River, this 2,231-acre impoundment is one of the best musky fishing destinations in the Northwoods.

Lake Arbutus, Black River Falls area

The Black River is home to a healthy population of musky, and Lake Arbutus holds some of the biggest specimens.

Three Lakes Chain, Oneida County

Try your luck on one – or all – of this chain’s 28 lakes. You’ll find plentiful fish and lots of room to explore.

Eagle River Chain, Vilas County

If you’re looking for variety, fish the Eagle River Chain of Lakes. This chain has one of the highest concentrations of musky in the state.

Trout Lake, Boulder Junction

The musky fishing in this deep, clear lake really turns on in the late fall. The musky here grow to enormous sizes.

Lake DuBay, Stevens Point area

This sprawling impoundment of the Wisconsin River offers miles of channels, numerous islands and lots of musky.

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September 12, 2012

Fall Musky Hotspots

Fall is musky time. As temperatures drop, these enormous fish get hungry. Ravenously hungry. If you want to catch a trophy, you better be out fishing when the leaves start falling off the trees. These four fishing hotspots are your best bets for catching a once-in-a-lifetime fish this fall.

Musky fishing in Boulder JunctionTrout Lake – Located just south of Boulder Junction, Trout Lake is one of Wisconsin’s deepest, clearest lakes. In November, when the mercury falls, Trout Lake muskies follow fat ciscoes up into the shallows, giving anglers a rare opportunity to catch some of the lunkers that stay in deep water through most of the year.

Eagle River ChainVilas County’s Eagle River Chain of Lakes is a musky hunter’s heaven. Not only does the chain offer dozens of lakes, it’s loaded with muskies. While the chain might be a popular fishing destination, anglers will find that the fish are still plentiful.

Boom Lake – Boom Lake is probably the best-known lake in the Rhinelander Area – and for good reason. This lake not only offers great fishing for walleye, smallmouth bass and panfish, it’s an outstanding musky lake. Throughout the fall, Boom Lake produces some big fish.

Willow Flowage – Located in western Oneida County, the Willow Flowage is a gem. It isn’t a renowned musky destination, but it really should be. While most musky anglers are focusing on other lakes around the Northwoods, the muskies of the Willow Flowage are growing big and fat. And, fishing the Willow Flowage is pure pleasure. Undeveloped and highly scenic, there’s no better place to spend a fall afternoon casting bucktails and taking in the view.

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